First Highlights From de Blasio’s Vision Zero Announcement

Mayor de Blasio is at PS 152 in Queens this afternoon with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to discuss the administration’s initiatives to sharply reduce traffic deaths and injuries. We’ll have a full report later today, but here’s what reporter Stephen Miller has broadcast on Twitter so far…

(Note that the Highway Division can issue tickets on surface streets, although historically it has mostly conducted enforcement on highways.)

In a press release, the mayor’s office said the Vision Zero task force will produce “concrete plans” by February 15 to achieve de Blasio’s traffic safety agenda.

So far, this is highly encouraging. For several years now, DOT has been out ahead of other city agencies on traffic safety policy. Now we’re seeing the beginnings of the multi-agency collaboration that will be needed to achieve major, sustained reductions in traffic deaths. More details to come.

  • Jimbo853okg

    After last week’s pedestrian fatalities, some posters were already complaining that Mayor di Blasio and NYPD commish Bratton weren’t “doing enough.” Please look at what this 15-day-old Administration has announced. Did it make Ray Kelly spit up his coffee?

  • Kevin Love

    Bravo! What a great way to start a new administration.

  • JK

    Yes Mayor de Blasio, and thank you Families you are a force to be reckoned with. Keep pushing! And yes — lets see some actual speed enforcement on city streets. Back in the late 1990s, the cops did two highly publicized, and very effective zero tolerance traffic enforcement days. Biking around town, you could see the change in driver behavior: much less speeding and aggressive driving. Motorists were getting pulled over in huge numbers. Too bad PD did it only twice and then forgot about it for twelve years.

  • Jimbo853okg

    This is great but one thing bothers me. What about the five District Attorney offices? For this to be effective, they must commit to considering vehicular manslaughter serious crimes. Otherwise, juries will continue returning Not Guilty verdicts..

    I’m particularly looking at you, Cy Vance and Robert Johnson.

  • Joe R.

    We’re not going to win this war solely or mainly in the courtroom. We’re going to win it by a combination of better street design, more enforcement, and reductions in traffic levels. I think we should move solely to automatic enforcement for speeding and red lights. That excludes the courts for those offenses. We may even have the technology for automatic enforcement of failure to yield. I personally think every intersection should have cameras which are recording 24/7 AND transmitting their videos to a public website. If something happens, a video transcript of the event exists. By putting the videos on a public website the police won’t be able to destroy them to protect one of their own, or “important” people. A big reason why DAs don’t pursue charges is lack of enough evidence to ensure a conviction. Intersection cameras could change all that.

  • Jimbo853okg

    If that does the trick, great. Joe R., you say “we DAs.” I’m just curious about how that statement – is that your profession?

  • Andrew N

    Isn’t the lack of convictions (and prosecutions for that manner) more owing to the severe limits the state appellate court has put in place with the ‘moral blameworthiness’ standard? That’s why I’m particularly encouraged to see BdB calling for new vehicular manslaughter legislation to hopefully eliminate that standard.

  • Joe R.

    That was a typo which I edited after you read my post. I’m an electronics engineer by profession.

  • Anonimiss Bikenyc

    Will there be a different approach to the NYPD harassment of Critical Mass on the last Friday of the month at 7pm in Union Square? Critical Mass is a space where NYPD have been trained to fabricate laws and bias against cyclists in favor of the automobile for the last 9 years. Critical Mass must be a vibrant space where our people power, the “all-powerful bike lobby”, can assert ourselves. Will DiBlasio’s Army deign to ride bikes with us?

    We are pleased to see the city make such gestures enacting #VisionZero, as they will save lives.

    Whatever you think of Critical Mass, know that it is a part of this struggle for safer streets.

    Expect us. Still we ride.

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    I was a bit disappointed in Bill for not coming out sooner to show a stark difference with the old guy. But what he did today was a huge step in the right direction for the city. It’s something i wouldn’t expect from Bloomie or anyone DeBlasio was running against. It looks like he’s setting the stage for real change, which is great for 15 days in. He might drop the ball but at least he’s playing on our team, which is more then I could say for many politicians. Good job, Bill, we’ll keep Feb 15th on our calenders.

  • UWSrez

    Fantastic job

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    The NYPD has done some pretty heavy spying on Critical Mass, from camera wearing moles to helicopters. Due to the frequency, it might even be where the NYPD tests out new gear and tactics. Changing that part of the NYPD will be far harder then having more Highway cops give out more speeding tickets. All police harassment is immoral and needs to be stopped. If Bill did stop sending the troopers to critical mass, it would send a clear message that he understands what’s going on, and is willing to stand up for the small people, even if it means big change. He has a lot of options, but that choice would really prove their is a smart, honest change in direction he is pushing hard for.

  • UWSrez

    Gosh, I lost someone 8 years ago, and I’m a pedestrian every day of my life. How many more deaths was I supposed to wait for until I can ask that we put some muscle into stopping the carnage? and treat the loss of life with some urgency and respect? I’m a BdB voter, very glad to see this today

  • Daniel Latorre

    The root of the problem is the street design. Throwing money at enforcement, cameras, speed limit changes are ok, it’s great to do everything we can now, but they are treating the symptom, not the cause.

    The core of the vision zero concept is about the street design, not blaming or punishing users for bad design. When will announcements be made about investing in sustainable improvements by changing the actual design of the streets to make them safe for all New Yorkers?

  • Reader

    Amen.

    And that’s where de Blasio will have to exhibit some real courage. What will he say to the usual suspects when they complain about losing parking spaces or reducing travel lanes?

  • StepUpAndSaySomething

    Your right that the street design is a major problem, we need to design streets for people, not cars. And the culture really is changing; I’m hearing a lot more people talking about taking away parking for SBS and bike lanes. But there will always be people who want to drive, but are too dangerous to have a license. We need to step up enforcement against these drunk drivers, speeders, and failure to yield motorists to get them off the streets. We need a lot of tools to get to vision zero.

  • Mark Walker

    My compliments to everyone above as well as Streetsblog, the livable streets movement, and the new admin. This is exactly the kind of dialogue we need to have.

  • Mark Walker

    Just a reminder that there will be a community vigil tonight at 6:30 p.m. in response to the killings of Cooper Stock and Alexander Shear, which occurred within 40 minutes of each other on Friday night. The
    event will be at West End Ave. and 97th St., where Cooper was hit. Please come to show solidarity with the survivors and protest vehicular violence on our streets.

  • Joe Enoch

    I’ll be there.

  • JamesR

    Street design modifications are not enough. We have to change the culture through enhanced enforcement, or else all we’ll get are enraged, entitled motorists whipping down supposedly traffic-calmed streets in frustration. That makes taking on the TLC, who are the very root of the wild-west NYC road culture. At the end of the day, the cabs set the tone for all other drivers in this city.

  • Guest

    Sure, street design could be better, but there are other cities with the same or worse design yet they have totally different driving cultures and much lower fatality rates. Reckless driving can certainly be curtailed by better design but even bad design can work just fine if drivers are careful. Years of NYPD negligence has bred a driving culture where recklessness is rewarded with shorter travel yet totally unpunished when it leads to death.

  • Joe R.

    Many of NYC’s street designs are used as examples of what NOT to do in other parts of the world. While it’s true enforcement is part of the answer, it’s a relatively small part. If we design our streets properly, people just won’t have incentives to engage in dangerous and/or illegal behavior. Two great articles on the subject:

    http://www.theurbancountry.com/2013/07/bad-design-leads-to-bad-scofflaw-behaviour.html

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/06/three-way-street-chaos-in-new-york.html

    I’ll say based on my observations that traffic signals are the single biggest thing which causes dangerous behavior. People speed to make lights, usurp pedestrian’s right-of-way when turning because they don’t want to wait another light cycle to make a turn, jockey around to gain a few places when stopping at red lights, etc. This is largely because we have traffic signals with very long red cycles which are on dumb timers. It’s also because we have way too many traffic signals. My suggestion is to remove as many traffic signals as is feasible (probably 80% to 90% of them), and put the rest on sensors so they only go red when something is actually crossing. This should end the worst behavior by making travel times a lot more predictable. What we want to do is to get traffic flowing more slowly but also more steadily.

  • Prinz

    KEEP RIGHT PASS LEFT. That is all that is needed on our freeways and highways. If this is implemented then reduce the speed all you want. We need to create a proper, educated ‘driving culture’ not a free for all.

  • Andrew

    Freeways and highways? Do you have any idea what the topic of conversation is?

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